Giannis Antetokounmpo scores 48, Doc Rivers gets first win as Milwaukee’s head coach

Giannis Antetokounmpo scores 48, Doc Rivers gets first win as Milwaukee’s head coach

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 48 points and the Milwaukee Bucks overcame a 25-point deficit for their first victory under coach Doc Rivers, beating the Dallas Mavericks 129-117 on Saturday night.

The Bucks, who lost their first two with Rivers on the bench after the midseason firing of first-year coach Adrian Griffin, started the rally with a 15-0 run in the final two minutes of the first half to get within five.

Damian Lillard scored 30 points in the second-biggest comeback victory this season for Milwaukee, which trailed Portland by 26 in a November win. Antetokounmpo also had 10 assists.

Luka Doncic had 40 points and 11 assists for the Mavericks, who had their biggest blown lead in a loss this season.

Rivers’ first victory with the Bucks also means he and his staff will coach the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game on Feb. 18. The Milwaukee staff gets the All-Star nod because Joe Mazzulla of East-leading Boston is ineligible after coaching in the game last year.

With Kyrie Irving out for a sixth consecutive game with a sprained thumb, Doncic went to the locker room briefly in the first quarter after getting his right ankle tangled with Antetokounmpo in a battle for a loose ball.

Dallas led 44-20 after the first quarter and 49-24 early in the second when Antetokounmpo hit a 3. The Bucks were still down 20 when Lillard scored with 1:59 left in the half.

A five-point possession soon followed when Doncic was called for a transition take foul and a technical. Lillard made both free throws and AJ Green hit a 3 before Lillard beat the halftime buzzer with another 3 for a 65-60 deficit.

The Bucks used an extended 38-10 run into the third quarter for an eight-point lead before Dallas regained the lead late in the third.

Antetokounmpo put Milwaukee back in front for good when he went the length of the court in 3.7 seconds for a layup and a 93-92 lead, leaving 1.2 seconds to spare in the third.

The eight-time All-Star went 20-of-28 in his sixth 40-point game of the season. Bobby Portis had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Bucks next face the Jazz in Utah on Sunday night. The Mavericks are at the 76ers on Monday night.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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